Gibraltar operators agree £2.5m payout following AML failings

Business News

The Gibraltar Gambling Division has now completed its 12 month thematic review of the anti-money laundering risk assessment processes and controls operated by our B2C licensees in respect of non-UK international customers.

This work has focused on ensuring that firms have in place the adequate and robust systems to identify and tackle AML challenges in customer onboarding and ongoing contact in full compliance with our legislation.

The review engaged and analysed historical processes being operated by those firms and monitored their improvements during the period to the standards required and expected today.

As a result of the Gambling Division’s work, a number of historic control weaknesses were identified which have now been rectified by the operators concerned to our satisfaction. The industry and individual operators have worked collaboratively with the Gambling Division, both in the identification and analysis of individual cases and wider generic systems weaknesses that are common to more than one operator.

The thematic review has confirmed that operators had risk based controls in place which were being incrementally improved, but that in some cases, risk tolerances were too great and the timing on interventions was too slow or ineffective. In one case reviewed, several operators received monies that had been stolen from an employer by an individual in a position of trust who had fraudulently forged documents and provided false information in relation to evidencing his wealth and source of funds.

Operators need to ensure that all staff are trained to a level commensurate with their role and that all customer facing staff understand both their AML and social responsibility obligations.

Operators must properly risk assess all the ways in which customers fund their accounts for all channels (including peer to peer gambling) and carry out appropriate due diligence checks on all participants.

The Gambling Division will monitor and ensure that these processes continue to be applied by operators and will regularly inspect those firms to satisfy themselves that these processes and controls are in place. As a result of the full and frank cooperation afforded by operators during the review, including agreements to divest profits which represent the proceeds of crime, the Gambling Commissioner concluded that he was satisfied that no further action was required.

As part of the conclusion of the thematic review a number of operators have also agreed to make payments to The Gibraltar Gambling Care Foundation in varying amounts totalling £2.5m in all and to support the use of training initiatives at the Gibraltar University in AML and social responsibility by their employees. It is the intention of the Foundation to support the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Responsible Gambling (CERG) at the University, conducting important research with the sector into all issues relating to problem gambling, including its causes, identification, mitigation and support for those affected.